Saturday Night Live’s 40th: Highlights, Lowlights and In-Jokes (VIDEOS)
Saturday Night Live celebrated their 40th anniversary on a Sunday and it was actually kind of fun to watch if you’re a big comedy nerd or at least a big fan. Everybody was there!
Celebrity Jeopardy Opened The Night Strong
All your favorite cast members from Will Ferrell, to Eddie Murphy, to Jane Curtain, to Bill Murray and yes, even Chevy Chase, were at the star-studded night of making in-jokes for an audience that collectively made more money by sitting in their seats than the entire rest of the country combined did all last year.
The night was about 80% congratulating the cast and crew of the show, and comedy-career-Minotaur/genius Lorne Micheals, and about 20% sketches, all of which were recurring. The two sketches that didn’t actually address that it was the 40th anniversary of SNL were actually pretty funny, and really had their moments, when cast members didn’t mix in too much.
The main actual-sketches were Celebrity Jeopardy, Wayne’s World, a song about the show starring Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler, The Californians and a rehashing of the classic trout blender sketch.
Check out The Californians, though, to see what I mean about mixing generations.
The Californians Sketch Was Funny, But Showed Mixing Cast Generations Doesn’t Always Work
The Californians sketch featured Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Laraine Newman, Kenan Thompson, Betty White and the tragically unfunny, yet extremely talented, beautiful and amazing songwriter/performer Taylor Swift who I, as a 5’6 Guatemalan man, will one day climb like a motherf*cking beanstalk.
But do you see what I mean about original cast member Laraine Newman’s lines and scenes being a little “off”? It’s really sad that cast members who try and play with the newer hotness just have a different inherent sense of timing and pace. It made the generation mixing a little awkward, but overall the sketch was a success.
They then decided to end the sketch with the forgettable “buh bye” joke that David Spade would always do, only not on a plane for some reason. It wasn’t exactly great.
We Got To See Some Amazing Auditions From Classic Cast Members, And Some You’ve Never Seen Before
The segment where they showed some of the successful cast members’ audition tapes was, next to Celebrity Jeopardy, easily the most interesting part of the show because after they get through everyone that you already know was on SNL, you get to watch some really fun audition moments from Zach Galifianakis, Kevin Hart and other people you probably didn’t know tried out to be part of the SNL cast.
The Most Awkward “This Is The Only Way We Could Get Him Here” Award Goes To…
Chris Rock gave us some pretty great words about Eddie Murphy and explained to the world, and the Illuminati-famous audience who are all over him at this point, exactly why he is the legend that he was. Is? Eeeh.
After a rousing standing ovation, and after Chris Rock told a story about how Eddie Murphy was legendary for being able to take the SNL stage and say the most insane stuff in the world while still killing, Eddie Murphy then proceeded to come out, say a thank you that’s as awkward as when your girlfriend’s family asks you to say grace at their dinner table, and then we cut to commercial break. It was a good tribute, but since he was there it was kind of unfortunate that he didn’t actually do anything funny with the 30 seconds he was given.
You kind of want to see some of “the greats” bring back the old magic and show us that they’ve still got it, but last night all that Eddie Murphy really did was prove why we still don’t have a Beverly Hills Cop 4, yet he does a bunch of arbitrary films like Meet Dave and Tower Heist.
The Music Video About When People Break During Sketches Showed Us Adam Sandler’s Bored, Billionaire Eyes, and Some Really Memorable Clips
This video was actually really fun to watch, and the fact that Andy Samberg made a joke about being in a failed movie with Sandler, and that Sandler’s character wasn’t happy about it, kind of shows the difference between who Sandler was when he was on the show (which was a funny, creative guy making movies and music) and who he is now, which is a person that never seems to be having fun anywhere he is ever.
And Then There Was The Forced Wayne’s World Reunion (Even Though They Did That Already Less Than Two Years Ago)
The sad part about Mike Myers being a little too heavy to sport the Wayne’s World t-shirt isn’t that we got the sports Jersey movie version, but that Dana Carvey still looks exactly the same. And yes, he went through some healthcare hardships that probably helped him keep the pounds off, but he’s still a vibrant, happy and talented performer who didn’t lose himself to fame, and actually seems to enjoy it whenever he gets to be in front of an audience.
Bill Murray Really Brought It In This Lounge Singer JAWS Number
And finally, there was a musical monologue that went on WAY too long, featuring Martin Short, who will never age or seem like anything but the Martin Short we’ve always known and loved, and Maya Rudolph, whose Beyonce is solid, but got a little old (unlike Martin Short ever will).
But one of the highlights of the night, other than his sincere and heartbreaking tribute to cast members who are no longer with us like Gilda Radner, Don Pardo and John Belushi (featuring a recurring gag where they kept saying that Jon Lovitz was dead, and then immediately cutting to him in the audience), was Bill Murray’s Nick the Lounge singer character being performed with all the energy that he had so many years ago, no entitlement whatsoever, and making everyone laugh.
Last night really weeded out who is a really great performer, and always will be, and who’s just kind of famous, rich and tired of the whole thing now.
The exciting part about last night was seeing how many people have come and gone through the SNL stage, and the variety of people who have come out of it. It’s where multiple generations of comedy have been born and, apparently, where comedy will continue to be born for many years to come.
Happy middle age, SNL!
– David Spade and Bradley Cooper stepping on each other’s lines so hard at the end of The Californians sketch that they each had to repeat their jokes and the meaning didn’t even come through.
– Chevy Chase’s “tribute” which, and I’m sure they hired Norm MacDonald to do it because they knew he’d throw some shade, could not have been more begrudging (Chase was famously banned from the show, would physically hit cast members in his generation and once smacked Cher Oteri, and also he’s notoriously full of himself and hard to work with).
– Cutting to commercial always seemed to be delayed for Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy and anyone else trying to end their bits as soon as possible.
– Jerry Seinfeld’s joke about black women that pissed off the Internet, whereas his exchange with Larry David, although self-celebratory, was actually really funny and awesome and true.
– Eddie Murphy’s everything.
– Chevy Chase not being asked to host Weekend Update.
– Louis CK’s declaration that everybody loves the pre-recorded segments a lot more than the live stuff and everyone agreeing with him because it’s true.
– Martin Short and Maya Rudolph trying to keep the audience with an underwhelming musical number meant only to transition between musical sketches.
– Tracy Morgan getting an in memoriam bumper even though he’s still technically alive.
– Sarah Palin’s attendance.
– Taylor Swift’s acting.
– Not knowing whether or not Sia’s hair was a recurring joke or not (until Zach Galifianakis came out wearing the wig).
– Cecily Strong being left out of the Weekend Update montage.
– SNL not asking Robert Downey Jr. to perform, even though he’s an A-lister now.
– No Julia Louis Dreyfuss
– The teleprompter reflecting off of Tina Fey’s new glasses.
– Eddie Murphy trying to act like he’s not crazy for 30 seconds (I’m sorry, but the whole Eddie Murphy thing was insane).